Andrew Gwynne, MP for Denton and Reddish and Shadow Minister of State for Health, this week launched a campaign by the AntiCoagulation Self-Monitoring Alliance (ACSMA) to increase access to self-monitoring via prescription for patients on long-term warfarin.
There are more than 1.2 million people in the UK on warfarin with approximately 1,690 of these in Denton and Reddish, but fewer than two per cent of them benefit from self-monitoring, despite evidence that it can cut the risk of death by nearly two-fifths and more than halve the risk of strokes.
Andrew Gwynne MP said:
“I am delighted to continue to lend my support to this campaign. If more patients are able to choose to self-monitor, it would improve the quality of their care. We need to see more opportunities for people to discuss the option of self-monitoring with their GP. I encourage patients and their families to show their support for self-monitoring technology to be made available on NHS prescription by signing up to the campaign at www.acsma.org.uk.”
Warfarin is used to reduce the risk of blood clots in conditions such as atrial fibrillation, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism and in people with mechanical heart valves.
ACSMA comprises four of the UK’s leading charities and patient groups – AntiCoagulation Europe; the Children’s Heart Federation; the Atrial Fibrillation Association; the Mechanical Heart Valve Support Group – that exist to provide advice, support and guidance to patients on oral anticoagulation therapy, as well as their families and healthcare professionals. Healthcare company Roche is also part of the alliance.
Anne Keatley-Clarke, Chief Executive of the Children’s Heart Federation said:
“Children with heart conditions have to miss a great deal of school to travel to hospital to have their INR levels checked, which is a disruption in their already difficult lives. Parents may also be prevented from going back to work and there are significant travel costs.”
Self-monitoring is convenient for those on long-term warfarin, reducing clinic visits and freeing up precious time. It is also associated with more accurate warfarin dosing and can bring about a significant reduction in adverse events and death. Furthermore, self-monitoring has been shown to reduce the risk of stroke by over 50 per cent and reduce mortality rates by nearly two fifths. Through self-monitoring, results can be produced in less than a minute and readings can then be shared with the healthcare professional, and if needed, adjustments to warfarin dosage made.